The NHL released its 2012-13 schedule Thursday . . . but, with a labor war looming, was it an exercise in futility?
Michael Felger -- while worried that the players have hired hard-liner Donald Fehr, the former head of the baseball union, as their leader -- thinks common sense will, or at least should, prevail.
"I get the sense that this system has worked for everybody," he said Thursday on 'Uno's Sports Tonight'. "The salary cap is in place; players still make good money, salaries are still going up; I think the league, on balance, is profitable . . .
"I think this is going to come down to, do the owners reach for more? The owners got so much in the last negotiation, which resulted in a year-long work stoppage; that's when the blood was shed. The tough work is done. Now you're just negotiating numbers around the edges.
"As long as the owners don't get greedy, this thing should come in on time."
The Bruins have three players headed to the IIHF Hockey World Championship, which begin this weekend in Russia.
Brad Marchand was invited to play for Team Canada early on in the process, coming off his 37-goal season for the Bruins. Last week the Czech Republic added 19-year-old right wing David Pastrnak to their squad with plans to skate on a line with the Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec.
And Frank Vatrano -- who scored a total of 44 goals between Boston and Providence in this, his first full professional season -- was added to the Team USA roster this week. Vatrano, 22, confirmed it on his own Twitter account on Tuesday night prior to hopping on a flight bound for Russia:
Torey Krug played for Team USA last season, but was unavailable this time around after undergoing right shoulder surgery just a couple of weeks ago that will have him sidelined until late October.
Vatrano is one of four Massachusetts players on this year's version of Team USA. The others are Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon, Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin and Devils D-man David Warsofsky.
Both Marchand and Pastrnak previously suited up for their countries in the World Junior championships, and Vatrano played in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Vatrano also previously represented the U.S. at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he helped Team USA claim the gold medal.
The IIHF Men's World Championships will start Friday and run until May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It features featuring many of the NHL players that aren’t participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Ahead of the expansion draft, teams may look to get something in return for players they’d otherwise lose for nothing.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving a warm May the Fourth Be With You to everybody out there.
*Mike Francesa has declared sports radio war on former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, and it’s getting ugly folks.
*A humbled Bruce Boudreau, who really didn’t need to be humbled given what a nice man he is, will have a long line of NHL suitors interested in his services.
*The Northeastern University hockey team has gone to some extremes with their pregame wrestling matches.
*Pro Hockey Talk asks the question: if there’s an expansion draft, which goaltender should the Penguins protect given what’s going on in their playoff series?
*A really nice gesture within the PHT morning skate with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper going to bat for a Lightning beat reporter that finds himself out of a job.
*Max Domi had a very memorable rookie season even if it didn’t end with any serious consideration for the Calder Trophy.
*The Nashville Predators got a little better this week with the decision to kick Mike Ribeiro up into the press box.
*For something completely different: these Han Solo uniform jerseys for the Durham Bulls’ Star Wars Night are the freakin’ truth.